The first museum in Europe dedicated to economics, La Cité de l'Économie et de la Monnaie, opened in Paris on June 14. Its aim is to be accessible to everyone, both adults and children, and, if possible, enthral them with the world of finance and money.
Situated in the heart of the 17th arrondissement, the ambitious project occupies a historic Renaissance-style building, the hôtel Gaillard, which was the private residence of the banker Émile Gaillard and a branch of the Banque de France in the 1920s.
The restoration of the building was carried out by the Groupement Ateliers Lion, while the museum layout was initiated by the Atelier Confino and completed, after the latter’s closure, by the Agence Explosition.
Virtual immersions and multimedia games are an introduction to the visit and they guide the public in discovering economic mechanisms, putting them in the shoes of the most disparate operators. Yet, the Museum is also able to fascinate a more traditional public by exhibiting rare coins and banknotes, such as those displayed in the building's vault, surrounded by moats, and accessible through a security door over 40 centimetres thick. The sturdy cabinets, which once contained the treasures of wealthy families, were transformed into display cases to house the most valuable specimens, including a gold écu of Saint Louis minted in 1266, or the first franc of 1360 created to pay the ransom of King John the Good, taken prisoner by the English during the Hundred Years’ War.
Goppion carried out the complete set-up of one of the six zones into which the Museum is divided. The varied and diversified display cases were designed to dialogue and integrate with the existing furnishings. An example is the sophisticated high-security cases included in the period safes, provided with high-quality fibre optic lighting, backlit graphic panels, air quality control probes and a door opening sensor. Another example is the display cases built into the "isoloirs" on which the bank customers placed their valuables after removing them from the safe deposit boxes.
The criterion of maximum security was also behind the design of the two reinforced display cases with integrated security system, which, in case of danger, allows the object with its support to move down inside the metal base.
Some cases are equipped with external push-buttons that allow visitors to interact with the displayed objects and move them so as to admire them in their entirety.
Finally, also the panels for the graphics and the interior design elements of the section were made by Goppion.
As is usual with Goppion, the construction phase was preceded by an on-site presentation of the prototypes of the main fittings.